Hooking up an induction cooktop

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  #1  
Old 01-21-12, 09:41 AM
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Hooking up an induction cooktop

Hi I just bought a GE induction cook-top that requires 50A @ 220V. It comes with 8AWG wires.

The home I bought has this outlet in the stove/range area:



It seems to me 6AWG aluminum wires. What is the recommended way to connect this cook-top to electricity here?
 
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  #2  
Old 01-21-12, 10:13 AM
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What type of insulation is on the AL conductors or can you tell us the cable type used?
 
  #3  
Old 01-21-12, 12:18 PM
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Unfortunately I do not know and there is nothing written on the insulation of the wires. Keep in mind I have bought this house few days ago and those wires were already there.

I have made more detailed photos:


Full resolution: 01


Full resolution: 02

Make sure to click on "Full resolution" to see the details.
 
  #4  
Old 01-21-12, 12:20 PM
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Is that red labeling on the conductor?
 
  #5  
Old 01-21-12, 12:27 PM
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It's only red "spots", nothing is actually "printed" to be read. I will check the other wires if they have something similar.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 12:39 PM
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If you are comfortable working in the main panel shut off the main breaker and remove the panel cover. Careful there are still live areas with the main breaker off. Look at the wires running to the stove breaker. With luck there should be enough insulation to read the specs.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 12:46 PM
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The other two wires do not seem to have any of those spots. I attach a detail of those spots in the only wire that has them. After that, I will go down to the electrical panel and see if there is anything interesting.


Full resolution: 03
 
  #8  
Old 01-21-12, 12:50 PM
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ray2047: I moved only few years ago to the US. Before I was in Europe and when I was a teenager I used to work for an electrician during Summer. I know how to work with three-phases 380V, but US and European standards and practice are so different. Thanks for your help and directions. I will have a look at the main panel now.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 12:59 PM
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You should be able to see something on the cable sheath outside the panel. It may say something like 6-3 AL SE-R.
 
  #10  
Old 01-21-12, 01:18 PM
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Photos of the panel

I have taken few pics of the panel. Unfortunately I cannot read any wire spec on the insulation.


Full resolution: Panel 01


Full resolution: Panel 02


Full resolution: Panel 03


Full resolution: Panel 04
 
  #11  
Old 01-21-12, 01:19 PM
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Not sure if this will apply, but the 2008 code prohibits SER cable from being fused at 50 amps. You must use the 60 degree column, which will only allow 40 amps on a #6 SER. As I said in the beginning, I’m not sure it will apply in your situation. It may—seeing that you are installing a new appliance. Also, you may want to check your manufacture instructions. Some Manufactures will only allow copper for their appliances.

Personally, I will never install alum for any cooking appliance. But, that’s just me.
 
  #12  
Old 01-21-12, 01:21 PM
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pcboss, I am not sure where to look at to find the sheath of the cable? Will this require to open up the drywall above the panel?

PS this is a California home built in the early '70s
 
  #13  
Old 01-21-12, 01:24 PM
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A panel change may be in the works one day—if you have the money. The only way you are going to get a reading, may be to cut the drywall above the panel, and look at the jacket of the cable. Most likely it’s an #6 (four conductor—which is good) SER.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 01:25 PM
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SeaOn, I would also prefer copper, but this is what I found in this home I have bought few days ago. Not sure what to do at this point.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 01:27 PM
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@ Alesan,
Knock on wood. Seems I was typing when you posted what i said may have to be done with the drywall.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 01:42 PM
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There was a change in the ampacity ratings that applied to SER cables.

Number 6 AL at the 60 degree column is 40 amps, at the 75 degree column where it used to be allowed to be used was 50 amps. The code is also reversing the lowered ampacities in the next cycle.

I think you would be ok to use the wiring at the 50 amp rating. You could always call your building officials and ask for an opinion.

The connectors will need to be rated for use with AL. Pre-insulated Polaris connectors are pricey but easy to work with.
 
  #17  
Old 01-21-12, 01:42 PM
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Well I am open to re-do the main panel. During this year I will probably build a detached garage with a sub-panel and convert the current garage in living space.

This said, I would like to be able to cook dinner, maybe not today but by next week. Assuming those are #6 wires, and that the cook-top does not prohibit aluminum cables (see the first picture below)... shall I just buy Al-grade wire nuts that are big enough to connect #6 to #8? The range does not need neutral.


Full resolution: 01


Full resolution: 02


Full resolution: 03
 
  #18  
Old 01-21-12, 01:49 PM
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Thanks pcboss. I will surely call the inspectors and ask, and look up the Polaris connectors. If you have a link to a specific product please share I am downloading the Polaris catalog and later will go to a local store to see if they have anything.
 
  #19  
Old 01-21-12, 01:55 PM
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You will need to go to an electrical supply house. The big box stores do not carry them.

http://www.polarisconnectors.com/pdfs/NSi/IT_series.pdf
 
  #20  
Old 01-21-12, 02:01 PM
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A few things that bother me about that panelboard.

1. It appears to be a Federal Pacific, at least the main lugs have FPE Co molded into the plastic.

2. It has no main breaker nor does it appear to be a split-bus panel.

3. The incoming wires look rather small, perhaps it is only a 100 ampere panel?

4. The separate equipment grounding bus would lead me to think it WAS a sub-panel.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 02:08 PM
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Might main breaker be outside with meter?
 
  #22  
Old 01-21-12, 03:12 PM
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4. The separate equipment grounding bus would lead me to think it WAS a sub-panel.
The neutral bar is not bonded to the panel box so I would agree, it's a subpanel. It's definitely a Federal Pacific panel, perhaps fed with 100 or 125 amps.
 
  #23  
Old 01-21-12, 03:20 PM
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And probably a US not Canadian FPE panel. Alesan here is some info on FPE panels made in the US. Federal Pacific Panels and Associated Danger | U.S. Inspect
 
  #24  
Old 01-21-12, 03:40 PM
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Ray is absolutely correct! You should put panel replacement high on your priority list as you plan future projects. Here is some more information on FPE.

Federal Pacific Electric Panels: Fires Waiting to Happen, Debate Waiting to Be Ended
 
  #25  
Old 01-21-12, 05:05 PM
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Ray is absolutely correct! You should put panel replacement high on your priority list as you plan future projects. Here is some more information on FPE.

Federal Pacific Electric Panels: Fires Waiting to Happen, Debate Waiting to Be Ended
Ok, I feel hurt!!! I mentioned the panel change as well, and you didn’t give me credit……..





 
  #26  
Old 01-21-12, 07:18 PM
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Yes this is a 100A panel and the 100A breaker is outside.

Guys, I really thought 100A was an enormous quantity of current

Within this year I will remodel this part and I will surely put a lot of attention to the electrical wiring.

For now, I will check the connectors so at least I'm able to cook dinner
 
  #27  
Old 01-21-12, 07:32 PM
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Connector

I've found these:

Electrical and Industrial Supplies - Galesburg Electric Supply :: Electrical :: Cable Connectors :: NSI IT-4 - Multi-Cable Connector Block

Is this correct? I use the same for the ground connection?
 
  #28  
Old 01-22-12, 07:06 AM
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That would be right, Polaris is made by NSI. Ilsco also makes very similar connectors.
 
  #29  
Old 01-22-12, 10:20 AM
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Thanks. Now a question that may seem stupid, but:

I understand the hot wires carry (up to) 50A and could get heated up. But ground? If it works like in Europe and according to my understanding, the ground connector would only be "used" in case of a malfunction and with small currents (0.03A or so?). Why the necessity of a #6 wire for ground too?

Thank you
 
  #30  
Old 01-22-12, 01:28 PM
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For a 50 amp circuit, either a #10 copper or #8 aluminum grounding conductor would be required.
 
  #31  
Old 02-01-12, 07:16 AM
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Hi I opend up the wall because I need to change some wiring anyway; I could see the jacket of the cable and it says:

"Type RHW *DRS 300 Volts to ground"
(The * is an unreadable character)

I could not read a gauge measurement. Any idea what is that cable?
 
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Old 02-01-12, 07:22 AM
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I have a feeling the missing character is a C for conductors.
 
  #33  
Old 02-01-12, 07:44 AM
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Later this evening I will post a picture so it's easier to understand. I was thinking to replace this thing anyway with regular copper, as I already have to buy NM-B 6/3 for the oven installation. What do you think?
 
  #34  
Old 02-01-12, 08:15 AM
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I think I would replace it.
 
  #35  
Old 02-01-12, 08:20 AM
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I need to find a good place to buy it from now. Experiences?
 
  #36  
Old 02-01-12, 09:52 AM
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I think I have found a good price and it's brand name, Cerrowire or Southwire, at Homedepot online, free shipping. Apparently they do not have in the store 75' or 125' spools. I think 75' is almost exactly what I would need to hook up my oven and the cooktop.

Question: what kind of connector is good to join #6 and #8, copper? Are there "wire nuts" that are big enough? Or a screw type connector is better?
 
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